Alexandra Hunstein

  • Hosted by Cabrini Green Legal Aid
  • Sponsored by Aon, Kirkland & Ellis LLP
  • Service location Chicago, Illinois
  • Law school Loyola University Chicago School of Law
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Women's Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2015
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Alexandra advocated for young mothers whose interaction with the criminal justice system threatens their mother-child bonds, addressing the cycle of incarceration, foster care, and violence for young women.

When young mothers enter prison, they are very likely to have already experienced domestic violence, been a part of the foster care system, or witnessed the incarceration of a parent. Additionally, over half of all women who enter prison are mothers, the majority of whom are also the sole caretaker for their child or children. Due to strains on the parent-child relationship during incarceration, as well as a lack of resources, 14,000 children with an incarcerated parent enter foster care yearly. Because of their age, young mothers are uniquely positioned to respond positively to legal and social interventions. Alexandra’s project aims to provide targeted legal services to young mothers to help stabilize young families.

Fellowship Highlights

During Alexandra’s Fellowship, Alexandra:

  • Developed a system of referral from existing Cabrini Green Legal Aid clients to identify young mothers
  • Created case acceptance criteria and begin accepting cases for direct representation
  • Created a pamphlet of services the project offers and distribute it to low-income legal service providers, probation departments, diversion programs, and social service organizations
  • Created guides for currently incarcerated and recently released young parents to inform them of legal rights and remedies
  • Reached out to prison facilities to establish systems of referral

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